Some thoughtful comments from Cliff Lynch on the new NDSA PDF/A-3 report. 

Butch Lazorchak
Digital Archivist
National Digital Information Infrastructure and
Preservation Program
Library of Congress
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-----Original Message-----
From: CNI-ANNOUNCE -- News from the Coalition [mailto:[log in to unmask]] 
Sent: Thursday, February 20, 2014 2:40 PM
To: CNI-ANNOUNCE -- News from the Coalition
Subject: [CNI-ANNOUNCE] NSDA Report on Implications of New PDF/A-3 Standard

I wanted to share the announcement of a new report from the National Digital Stewardship Alliance on the PDF/A-3 file format specification that was released in late 2012.  The PDF/A specifications are fairly widely used to define a "more preservable" subset of the hugely complex general PDF specification (A is for "archival"). The new "incremental" upgrade to PDF/A raises some very nasty issues for institutions relying on this specification in an archival context; at the very least, migration to this new version is going to take some careful consideration, and potentially some substantial expense and disruption. There's a helpful short overview on the Library of Congress Digital Preservation blog at:

The full report is at

Many thanks to NDSA for alerting the community to this serious potential problem, and for a good analysis of the issues involved.

Clifford Lynch

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